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Irish voters punish government over debt crisis

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Irish voters punish government over debt crisis

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Pressure is mounting on Ireland’s embattled government after it was punished by voters angry at the country’s economic crisis.

The ruling Fianna Fail party has suffered a stinging by-election defeat to Sinn Fein in Donegal. As a result, Prime Minister Brian Cowen’s administration now has only a two seat majority in parliament.

A general election is due within months once parliament votes on a belt-tightening budget but protesters want Cowen to quit right away.

Nationalists Sinn Fein have capitalised on

popular anger over the debt crisis and the humiliation of bailout talks with the IMF and EU.

A rescue package of around 85 billion euros is set to be announced this weekend.

Today, thousands are expected on the streets of Dublin in a massive rally against austerity measures.